Ryan Preece was left seething following Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Preece, who looked to be heading to a runner-up finish, as Carson Hocevar had a more than six second lead in the waning laps of the race. Then, with four laps to go, Jesse Little and Tyler Ankrum crashed to bring out the caution flag, which erased Hocevar’s lead and put him on the hot seat on an overtime restart.
Hocevar chose the inside line on the restart, while Preece lined up on the outside.
As the 19-year old led the field into turns 1 and 2, he slipped up the track and got into Preece, which sent Preece into the wall. As the duo approached turns 3 and 4, Preece was still there. Hocevar lost control and skidded into Preece again and this time, Hocevar ended up backing into the outside wall.
In an instant, Hocevar’s sure-fire first-career win was dashed, but Preece’s hopes were also foiled as he suffered a cut tire due to all of the contact.
After climbing from his truck at the end of the night, Preece had very little sympathy for the young driver, who was attempting to score the first win of his career.
In his post-race interview on FS1, Preece wanted young racers know that the way Hocevar raced him on the overtime restart was not acceptable.
“I just want to focus on that final restart, that restart we raced side-by-side,” Preece lamented. “All of you kids watching right now, wanting to get to this level. Don’t do that. Race with respect. Don’t wreck the guy on the outside of you trying to win your first race. It doesn’t get you anywhere.”
For Preece, there was frustration as a potential win, or runner-up finish evaporated, but you sense the pain of the night was magnified after Preece’s tenure as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver ended following the 2021 season.
2022 is supposed to be the season where Preece shows what he has to potential suitors — like Stewart-Haas Racing, which has an opening in the No. 10 NASCAR Cup Series team next year. While he deserved better, 11th-place finishes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series don’t exactly open eyes, when people look at box scores at the end of the year.
As Preece continued in his post-race interview, you sensed the potential long-term ramifications of his career weighed more into his decision to be ultra critical of Hocevar.
“All I’m going to say is thank you RaceChoice.com for putting me in this truck. Because I race for a living, and if I don’t run good, I don’t make a lot of money. So, I’m pissed right now,” Preece stated in anger. “We got two more races to try and go and have some good runs. That’s just stupid. It’s really stupid. Don’t be like that.”
"All you kids watching right now wanting to get to this level … don't do that. Race with respect."
A very frustrated Ryan Preece after the late crash with Carson Hocevar at Charlotte: pic.twitter.com/w9WaYI4a8l
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 28, 2022
Following his interview on FS1, Preece was asked on MRN Radio if he would talk things over with Hocevar, to which he responded, “Fuck no.”
After Preece’s interviews, Hocevar spoke with media in the garage area and admitted that he drove too hard on the late restart as he wanted to close out his first win and made a mistake, but that he definitely did not mean to crash Preece and himself.
“I mean, yeah. I crashed him,” Hocevar said. “If he wants to high praise of young drivers with no respect. I just spanked his ass. I waxed him. He was the next best, but I put it to him. I messed up, I made a mistake. I obviously wasn’t going to try to crash myself and crash him. Tried to use him up a little bit, but not even door him, because you crash when you door each other.”
To Preece’s assessment of him in his post-race interviews, Hocevar took exception.
“I somewhat heard what he was saying on MRN. He has every right to be mad and say whatever he wants. But I don’t agree with it,” Hocevar said. “I just think it’s hard racing on old tires. I made a mistake and it cost both of us. It is what it is.”
When asked about Preece saying that Hocevar makes mistakes all the time on track and that at some point mistakes are simply habit, Hocevar lashed back.
“I think he’s full of S-H-I-T. I mean, I haven’t crashed all year really,” Hocevar explained. “I made a mistake at Vegas, but that’s it really and he’s the one who turned me. If he wants to play that card, sure. The young kid always gets put down and biased because he’s the young kid, or the rich kid or the money kid. You know? It’s always that. It’s never just two racers driving hard.”
Here are all of Hocevar’s comments in the garage, as recorded by FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass:
Carson Hocevar was taking selfies with his truck after the race. He describes why he should have taken the top and responds with some spicy comments of his own to Ryan Preece’s spicy comments about a lack of respect of young drivers and that Hocevar makes mistakes often. pic.twitter.com/ziT7ZbKS88
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) May 28, 2022